Lack of energy access and frequent electricity shortages are major impediments to
economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 635 million people live without electricity
in the region. Because the overall electrification rate remains at less than one-third
of the population, the region needs increased investment in the power sector.
As part of their increasing activity in overseas markets, companies from the People’s
Republic of China have significantly enhanced their engagement in Africa in the last
15 years, covering a wide range of sectors, including the electricity industry. Chinese-built
projects and financial support from China are contributing to power sector development,
extending energy access and facilitating economic growth.
This report analyses China’s engagement in the sub-Saharan Africa power sector, including
the key drivers underlying Chinese investments. An overview of Chinese projects (generation,
transmission and distribution) during the 2010-20 period is provided in this first-ever
consolidated effort to map them.
The report identifies the key Chinese stakeholders and assesses their impact on policies
affecting energy access, economic development and financing modalities. Two case studies
examine Chinese investment at the country level in Ghana and Ethiopia.